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List of Articles by Sev Sarmenta



NOT THE NIGHT FOR A TITLE

By Sev Sarmenta
PhilBoxing.com
02 Jun 2007

It’s always disappointing when a championship fight ends up with nobody winning the crown.

This was the case last Friday June 1 at the Angono Municipal Gym when the vacant Philippine flyweight title remained vacant.

Contenders Danilo Lerio and Louie Bantigue clashed heads in the third round, ended up bloodied and were subsequently advised by the ring doctors at the top of the fourth that it was time to stop the fight before any more damage could be inflicted.

The fight ended up as a technical draw since the halt came before the fifth round. Bantigue mistakenly thought he won the fight and began to whoop it up after referee Bruce McTavish signaled the end of the action. He had to be told that it was not his night not to become Philippine champion.

The disappointment on the part of the prizefighters was crystal clear. Lerio, the outstanding amateur, was riding the wave of a 13-1 win loss slate and was ranked number one in the division. Bantigue, the sixth contender and a veteran of 21 previous fights and winner of 13 of them, got an interesting break for the title since fighters ranked higher than him were unavailable for the title clash.

The championship showdown seemed to come at just the right time for the fighters. In this era of the huge megabucks that can be won in Las Vegas and other places abroad, a Philippine title early on is always a good entry in any fighter’s biodata. It makes promoters hoping to find the next great Filipino champions interested and armed with selling points when trying to nail that big payday overseas.

Thus, the desire of the protagonists to go all out for the title was evident. After the usual acquaintance party in the opening round (although Lerio and Bantigue had fought before with Lerio eking out a comeback win), Bantigue began throwing wicked combinations in the second and moved deftly to constantly stay in front of Lerio. Lerio countered briskly and the crowd of roughly 2,000 began to sense a slam-bang affair.

And then the sudden although not surprising colliding of the heads.

Both fighters lunged at each other and then banged foreheads. McTavish stepped in to send both contenders to the doctors. The blood flow seemed manageable and the medics gave the permit to continue.

And then at the top of the fourth, the blood from Lerio’s wound broke loose, leaving no other recourse then to stop the battle. Bantigue’s celebration was premature and had to settle for the required draw.

You then felt the disappointment of the crowd.

It’s like watching a movie where the ending posed more questions than offered resolutions. The Aljo Jaro promotion for the evening was generally a fistic fiesta, with knockouts galore and young upcoming fighters throwing everything they had in the fast paced curtain raisers. The championship battle seemed to be the perfect ending and the first two rounds were signs that it would be so.

But the decision to stop the fight was the correct one, given the unmanageable nature of the wounds and the premium given to protecting the boxers at all times. These things do happen in boxing and fights can end up with no winner at all.

Lerio and Bantigue will probably cross paths again. Maybe by then it will be a night for one of them to be champion.


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